I gasped for breath that refused to come. I begged for God to let me perish but He wouldn't let me go that easily. Every inhalation felt laborious. I was convinced that the end must have been near. At least I hoped it would come quickly and release me from my agony.
For two hours I struggled through alternating hot flashes and frigid chills. My head pounded while my stomach turned with intense fits of nausea. I shivered under blankets only to be sweltering moments later. The physical distress felt like an inescapable torture.
Silently my heart cried out for deliverance but my lips could barely utter a word. In between shallow breaths I tried to plead with God. "Please, God, please..." were the only words I could speak in the dark of night.
In my helpless state I laid as still as I could in my bed, too exhausted to move. The weight of my body was paralyzing. My body's burden was too much for me to bear. So I gave up. I released my breath and surrendered. I quieted the silent cries of my heart and stopped begging God to intervene.
In that moment a new peace came over me. My breathing was still shallow and my stomach was still in knots but my soul was calm. It was ready for whatever would come next. My spirit was lifted out of that darkness, out of that suffering, and given a serene, soft place. In that moment a new rest, one that transcended my body's burden, washed over me.
I'll never know how many minutes ticked by from that moment until my eyes shut and sleep enveloped me but I know it didn't take long. Although my body wasn't out of its misery, my soul was full of vitality. My heart was full of trust and assurance in spite of the trouble my body was facing. Despite the darkness of that physical and emotional night, my heart was delivered into the light. My soul was given a heavenly place and a peace that transcended my understanding.
And so I slept.
I slept without fits of tossing and turning. I slept without nightmares or terrors of demise. I slept soundly. I slept in peace.
And then I awoke. The next morning God had restored to me normal breathing and released the ache in my stomach. But that wasn't the true miracle of what He did for me that fateful night. More important and lasting than any physical relief He delivered was the relief He brought to my soul. He allowed me to teeter on the the brink of a crisis and, when I cried out to Him, He indeed heard my plea - the most pressing plea of my heart.
As I begged God to release me I thought I was pleading for rescue to deliver me from my physical torture. But God saw my greater need. He saw my need to be rescued from myself. He saw my need for my soul to be surrendered. And He answered that plea. He delivered my heart from the edge of destruction and brought me into His perfect peace. He surrounded me with His spirit and carried me with grace and mercy. When I let my eyes close and my worries go, God swept in with wings like an eagle and carried me, body and soul, to His perfect and eternal safe haven.